What I'm Seeing Now

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Vegetation Growing On Or Near A House Should Be Removed

Vegetation growing on or near a house should be removed.

I see this all the time.  Overgrown vegatation clinging to a house.  Or a big tree 6' from the front corner! 

This is never a good idea!

But doesn't it look stately and add interest to the house?

It might, but it adds other things too. 

  • Vegetation growing on the house attracts insects to the house and they will make a home if they can, and get inside.
  • Ivy and such growing on the walls will attach itself to the siding material and, if given opportunity, will actually get in and grow inside the walls.  I have been in basements where English Ivy is growing 40' from its source, and very happily!
  • Most ivy has very strong tendrils with sticky roots that attach themselves to the surface.  Not only is this all hard to remove, but even when removed their residue is evident and very difficult to eradicate.
  • Their roots hold moisture against the house, and/or foundation wall.
  • Trees can be especially damaging, holding moisture against houses, creating erosion underground creating holes near the house and species with aggressive roots can push on and even crack foundation walls.

The ivy on this house is growing under the vinyl siding, between the vinyl siding and the synthetic stucco on the chimney, and is holding moisture against that synthetic stucco. 

Removing it might even damage that stucco's skin.

Despite this little cutie's presence, watching over they ivy and patio, I think this is going to be a big job making this all look right.

And end up right!

There is a lot we can't see.  What gaps and holes have been opened up?

This ivy was planted intentionally and has been there for a long time.

It is happy and healthy!

AND A PROBLEM.

My recommendation:  confine your plantings around the house to beds and pots away from the house.  Keep vegetation away from any siding and the foundation wall.  Ivy on the walls should be avoided completely.  Look up planting recommendations for trees and shrubs, and recommended planting distances from the house.  Those recommendations are for a reason!  And if you need a guardian to watch over it all, make sure she is as cute as the Ivy Nymph up there!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 45 commentsJay Markanich • June 22 2012 03:08AM

Comments

Great reminder, Jay.....My favorite "ivy" saying is from my mother * it SLEEPS, it CREEPS, it LEAPS....IVY will GROW and FAST once it is established.

People do not realize that it will DESTROY the siding of the property - even the bricks and mortar.

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 5 years ago

Good morning Jay while it does look great I agree with Wallace if they ask themselves is it worth it?

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 5 years ago

Wallace - it might look nice on an old, stone castle, but not on vinyl or stucco siding!

James - if they would have to clean it off they would not think so...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Thank you for the reminder. I need to get some of the bushes trimmed.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 5 years ago

Good morning, Jay.... all plantings that touch a house are providing a bridge for insects of all kinds....I've been told to have all greenery cut 6" away from the house....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 5 years ago

Love the Nymph....and advice that should be taken seriously....do it yourself landcaping can be un-do it when it contributes to problems with roofs and foundations.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale (Keller Williams 414-525-0563) over 5 years ago

It's really too bad since the ivy looks so nice.  But, yes, it can be so destructive.  Amazing that it sometimes grows inside.  When I was younger, we had some on our walls.and I remember them taking it off.  Thankfully, it was pretty low (maybe  2-3 ft) and was below the siding so they got it before it became rather destructive.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 5 years ago

Jay, Thanks for this post. Very good info. Can one safely have ivy on brick or stone?

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 5 years ago

Gita - thanks for stopping by and, get on it!

Good practice Barbara.  And hey, I see from my desk calendar that today is the 22nd!

S&D - it will have to be undone sooner or later, and much better sooner!

Debbie - I see it inside often!  And it sure is easier to remove when low!

Tom - not a good practice as the roots will hang on even after removal and it will hold moisture against the brick.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago
That creepy little plant can cause problems. I saw a creative idea on a house that had an ornamental iron structure built that was about 6 inches from the house. The ivy grew all ove fit without the damaging effects yet providing a beautiful look.
Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 5 years ago

Good tips. Thanks for putting in writing what we see all the time.

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) over 5 years ago

Thanks Jay. I forgot to ask can the insects and bugs come through the bricks also?

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 5 years ago

And yet people continue to plant trees right next to the house. Sure they add some interest when they are small but over the years, the branches can cause some real damage.  Like when the wind blows and the branches start to destroy the shingles on the roof they are touching!

 

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 5 years ago
Great advice. That is one thing I do when I first buy a house. Remove all vegatation near it and trim back trees.
Posted by Dale Samples, REALTOR -Homes for Sale Charleston, West Virgini (304.741.4705 • www.dalesamples.com ) over 5 years ago

Why is my driveway all crooked and cracked? Uhhh... when your builder planted this oak tree here 10 - 15 years ago it was cute. He just stuck trees and plants all over the place to make the house look complete and ready to go so you would buy it, he's not the one that has to deal with it now!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 5 years ago

Jay, those trees that lean on a property also make a good bridge for squirrels to get into the attic.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 5 years ago

It goes on...function versus beauty....and the winner is.....? Depends on side you take....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 5 years ago

It's one of the saddest facts of life to me, because I love the look of ivy growing on a house.  But the look can be achieved by creating a specific place to grow the ivy.  Perhaps a privacy barrier on one end of a patio, etc.  Something that won't be too costly to replace when the ivy tears it down.  

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 5 years ago

Hi Jay.  I have asked people to trim trees that were overhanging on a roof.  I am kind of surprised that landscapers plant them so close.  It does cause tremendous foundation problems with horrific results.

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 5 years ago

Jay -- it is interesting that the ivy left the nymph clear.  In response to Michael (#16) trees that go near any wiring can also provide means for squirrels to get to the attic.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) over 5 years ago

Jay, Great info as always.Many years ago I bought a home on the Oregon coast and did not get an inspection! There were some very large bushes planted tight against the South side of the home. When I removed them the T111 siding was completely rotten. You could put your hand right through to the insulation.

Posted by Wayne Jackson, North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake (Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109) over 5 years ago

Jay, I've literally seen bushes or bunches of vines growing in attics and crawl spaces. I've also pulled off baseboard and the vines were grown around the room. There are so many good reasons to keep vegetation away from the home.

Posted by Rob Ernst, Reno, NV-775-410-4286 Inspector & Energy Auditor (Certified Structure Inspector) over 5 years ago

Paula - that's a great way to handle it!  I bet that is very pretty!

You're welcome Dave.  Keep it in mind next time you see it!

Yes Tom.  There are weep holes in the brick which insects will get into if invited.

Kathryn - builders are famous for this, putting Cherry Blossoms right beside the corner of the house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Dale - that is a good practice.  Sounds like you have bought a lot of homes!

Fred - another frequently-seen problem.  Sidewalks, curbs, gutters, even slabs!

Mike - squirrels, et al!  Not to mention the damage!

Richie - beauty often trumps function!  And good sense!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Joetta - I have seen wisteria take over and destroy a deck!

Gary - foundation problems often result.  Depends on the tree.  Weeping willows should be 50' from the house, for a reason!

Steven - that is true too!  And Miss Ivy Nymph trims things herself.  It's a beauty thing.

Wayne - yummie!  That might have been a tad too close.

Rob - and when ivy does that it is as happy as can be inside!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Ivy looks great but you will learn to hate.

Ivy league schools where the ivy  is growing on ancient buildings are picturesque.

Where there is ivy there are bugs.

Posted by Erv Fleishman, Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates (Realty Associates) over 5 years ago

Jay - Ivy is insidious, and its beauty is offset by the significant damage it can do. And while it's easy to ignore once it covers a chimney or other section of a home, the damage continues to spread. 

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) over 5 years ago

So, Erv. are you saying that people are listening to what is being said at Ivy League schools?  What agency put all the bugs?

John - it is for sure!  It takes over.  It's parasitical too, so it damages wood too.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Hello Jay,

Ivy is pretty, but too invasive!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC Team) over 5 years ago

Invasive indeed Lisa.  When it gets as grown as it is on this house, it's a big deal.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay, I used to live in the old Valley Vista condominium in Kalorama, and I remember how sad we were when they pulled down the beautiful ivy from the bricks.  Oh, well. 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Pat - I bet the roots from the tendrils are still there!  Those places are only what, 70, 80 years old?  How old was the ivy?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay -- I am amazed that about 99.9% of the homes I show have a lot of overgrown vegetation near the house.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 5 years ago

Nothing good can come from having growth against the house.  This is very senible, and often overlooked,advice Jay. Thank you for posting.

Posted by Dan Derito (Success! Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Well, Joan, that is a high percentage!  Get started trimming!

Thanks Dan.  I agree, nothing good comes from such overgrowth.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

English ivy is very common around Connecticut. I tell buyers the same, it's destructive and it's best if removed.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 5 years ago

Very good advice for home owners.

Have an outstanding week.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) over 5 years ago

It is pretty but I do understand the problems of the overgrowth to the structure and the pests.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) over 5 years ago

Jim - that stuff has the same very-difficult-to-remove tendrils and roots!  What a mess when it finally comes off too.

Thanks Roy.  And I think it's good advice too.

Poison ivy is pretty too Elite!  And this stuff is just as big a problem as that would be!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Agreed.  As nice as it might looks, that stuff just leaves a big mess.  Get rid of it.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Minneapolis Home Inspections (Structure Tech Home Inspections) over 5 years ago

And a lot of this house is stucco Reubs, so it will certainly be damaged when this junk is removed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay: Thank you for this information.  I actually saw this blog on Margaret Woda's site where she re-blogged it.  I see this sort of thing more often than not too, and I am re-blogging as well.  

Posted by Donna Yates, Blue Ridge Mountains (BHGRE - Metro Brokers) over 5 years ago

Thank you Donna.  It is a common problem, and done by people who don't understand plants!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

Jay I agree that this is never a good idea!  We had to sell my mom's home very cheaply because of termite damage from all of the palnts near the house! I always tell my customers to be careful with vines, etc. Great post.

Posted by Carol Faaland-Kronmaier, PhD, e-PRO, Manville, Hillsborough, Somerset NJ (Weichert, Realtors; Hillsborough) over 5 years ago

Thanks Carol.  I agree, this is a very important, and not understood concept!  Keep plants off the house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 5 years ago

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